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N.T. Wright's "Simply Christian" can be a good option. It is a bit more readable for today's youth than "Mere Christianity", in my opinion. Also, Shane Claiborne's "Irresistible Revolution" can provide a window into the Christian faith and its implications in a way that connects with youth. It certainly isn't explanatory in the same way as "Mere Christianity", but it can be an effective bridge for some young people.

Welcome on board, Kory! You are the newest member of our Campus Ministry team and the first to post here. I'm going to try shake a few of the experienced campus ministers out of their vacation hammocks to respond, but here are a few of my thoughts.

An open, and seemingly empty calendar at the start can be a scary thing. The best advice I received when starting campus ministry was not to try and fill it up with tasks, but rather to keep open for connecting with people. Campus ministry is all about relationships, so I would recommend taking the time to meet students, faculty and staff and to start networking. Don't overlook people at River Terrace or in your local Classis who may be able to help you connect to those on campus or with an interest in campus ministry. Another thing that a number of campus ministers have found helpful in building partnerships is to join an activity or cause on campus, such as an anti-poverty campaign. This has the advantage of introducing you to a wider network as well as providing the opportunity to offer God's grace and live redemptively in that setting. So for me, the line from E.M. Forster's "Howards End" pretty much sums up the first few months of campus ministry - "Only connect."



This is I think a constant dynamic in Campus Ministry. Having physical space does give you a sense of belonging to the community, though ultimately this is really established and kept through relationships rather than occupying a physical space. The plus side of not having a physical space is it does force one out into the campus, to be a sojourner if you will, rather than someone who waits for others to come. That being said, some sort of physical space is needed if one is to gather a community and it does help if you can count on this being the same space each time. In starting out, I'd focus first on building relationships within the admin community (i.e. Student Life as mentioned by Chong), try to secure a community meeting space second and worry about any sort of office space third, if at all. I'd make my "office" in key strategic meeting places on campus that would allow me to regularly interact with students, staff and faculty. Loitering with intent can enable you to build some key strategic relationships with people and establish you as a faithful and visible presence on campus. 

You might also want to chat with Brad Close in Halifax about his experiences there. The multi-faith team there has a house on campus that until recently was shared with other services. The university has begun to see the multi-faith team as strategic in their recruiting and retaining international students and so has begun to make it more of a priority. As a result, the whole house is being renovated to better serve the multi-faith team and their activities. This has come about, however, through Brad's commitment to building relationships within the administrative community over several years. 

Hi Ken,

I'm still thinking about all the implications of the quote from Wilken's that begin's Hauerwas' article. I do think it is a good quote to start with, given where Hauerwas goes in his instructions and encouragement to college students. As you both you and Hauerwas note, there is a need for honest Christian mentors, older Christians who are willing to spend time with college students to encourage them and help them navigate the challenges they face. I know as I do this with students I am around my own faith is deepened and renewed, so it is certainly a two-way street. Thanks for you interest in campus ministry - all of us who work in academic communities covet your prayers.

Hi Ken,

Ron doesn't lead a church, but rather is the campus pastor at Western Michigan University. Ron's fruitful ministry there focuses primarily, though not exclusively, on working with international students. As someone immersed in the university culture, he is a keen observer of young adults and would be a good resource if you have questions.



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